SUNY Oneonta Leads USDA Grant Promoting Family and Consumer Sciences

SUNY Oneonta student in a fashion design class

SUNY Oneonta has received a three-year federal grant from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) to facilitate the National Partnership to Recruit, Prepare and Support Family and Consumer Science Educators, a collaboration with the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) and the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). The $747,525 award and matching funds from the three partner institutions provides a total of $936,572 to address the shortage of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) educators nationwide.

“A closure of over 150 of Family and Consumer Sciences educator preparation programs across the country has disadvantaged college students who want to become teachers and employers seeking to fill vacant positions,” said Jan Bowers, dean of education and human ecology, who will take the lead as the principal investigator for the partnership. “It is estimated that 55 percent of educators across the United States is eligible for retirement in the next five years, and this is a trend that has also been seen across New York State.”

Project Goals

The goal of the project is to increase the number of qualified FCS educators in secondary, post-secondary and extension programs. To achieve this, the project is designed to:
•    Produce and distribute resources and information related to educator preparation and certification, professional development, and curriculum and instruction;
•    Promote workforce opportunities to wide audiences to recruit diverse candidates;
•    Share resources on a national level to provide online content needed for educator licensure; and
•    Provide targeted support in regions with limited educator programs.

Project Partners

This national partnership facilitates collaborative interaction with education institutions, state departments of education, extension, K-12 educators and students, professional associations, student organizations, and industry partners. In fact, 14 organizations and industry partners have agreed to participate in the project:
•    Alliance for Family and Consumer Sciences
•    Association for Career and Technical Education, Family and Consumer Sciences Division
•    Board on Human Sciences (BOHS) - Association of Public and Land Grant Universities
•    Council of Administrators of Family and Consumer Sciences (CAFCS)
•    Goodheart-Wilcox Publisher
•    Nasco Family and Consumer Sciences
•    Family and Consumer Sciences Education Association (FCSEA)
•    National Association of State Administrators of Family and Consumer Sciences (NASAFACS)
•    National Association of Teacher Educators of Family and Consumer Sciences (NATEFACS)
•    National Coalition for Black Development in Family and Consumer Sciences (NCBDFCS)
•    National Coalition for Family and Consumer Sciences Education
•    National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS)
•    SUNY Oneonta
•    United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture

“By combining our efforts and sharing our expertise and resources, we create a synergy among colleges and universities, industries, professional and student associations,” said Dean Bowers. “This is a cost-effective, collaborative and holistic approach that will sustain the FCS profession over time.”

About SUNY Oneonta's FCS Program

SUNY Oneonta is the only college in the AAFCS’s Northeast region that offers a Family & Consumer Sciences Education (FCS) program. Students who enroll in SUNY Oneonta’s accredited program obtain a minor in general human ecology, which provides them with broad knowledge of the family and consumer science disciplines. Completion of the program leads to New York State teacher certification and meets National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education standards.

About the Field of Family and Consumer Sciences

Family and consumer sciences (FCS) draws from broad and diverse disciplines to develop and provide content and programs that help individuals become more effective critical thinkers and problem solvers. Through discovery and delivery of research-based knowledge, FCS professionals help individuals and families develop essential skills to successfully live and work in a complex world. Professionals in the field are uniquely qualified to speak on many critical issues affecting individuals and families, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, wisely managing personal and family finances, and creating supportive relationships with family members, friends, and co-workers. They are located nationwide in a variety of practice settings, including secondary schools, universities, government agencies, and businesses.